“If we look at a child’s colouring book, before it has any colour added to it, we think of the page as blank. It’s actually not blank, it’s white. That white background is just “there” and we don’t think much about it… When we talk about multiculturalism and diversity what we are really referring to is the colour of the children, or their difference from the norm, and how they don’t fit perfectly.” (Milne, 2013)

My Cultural Intelligence:

“Caring for students as culturally located individu-als within a framework of positive student–teacher relationships is considered beneficialfor all students, but particularly so for M¯aori (Bishop et al., 2003; Hall & Kidman, 2004).Valenzuela (1999) distinguished between aesthetic caring, which involved affective expres-sion only, and authentic caring, which entails deep reciprocity and, in the case of teachers,taking responsibility for providing an education environment in which their students thrive.Authentic caring entails getting to know students, attending to student input regardingteaching and learning, respecting students’ intellectual abilities, and valuing identitiesstudents bring into school from home. Thus caring for students as culturally located indi-viduals, as understood in this context, goes beyond simple feelings of affect to implicationsfor teacher pedagogy and how teachers support student learning.” (Savage…, 2011)

As I started to read this weeks required reading I felt a strong connection with the concept of relationships. Relationships could be teacher – student, student – student, teacher – parent, teacher – teacher, the list is ongoing and comprehensive. What ever the relationship, they are key to ensure successful outcomes in schooling. To ensure educational success for all students teacher – student  relationships must move beyond the surface knowledge of a child and delve deeper in really knowing that child and their culture. It is with these understandings that true engagement with the learning can take place. I firmly believe that if you build these relationships with all students they will feel cared for, valued and understood. As their self esteem grows within the school environment learning becomes a natural part of their journey.

In completing the survey as part of the notes for this week I realised that I only have a developing understanding of Cultural Intelligence. I need to continue to develop my own understanding of this and continue to implement it more effectively into my practice to ensure I build relationships with my students that show an awareness of their culture.

Vision, Mission, and Core values

As a school our vision, mission and core values have been in a state of development over the last two years. After much consultation these have now been released. The school consulted with our community including our local Iwi as part of the process. In 2014 the school was gifted its Māori name by our local Taumutu Rūnanga: Te Kura o Papatahora. In 2016 the schoolwhakataukī was gifted to us:

‘He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka’
We are on the waves of learning in our waka
(Te Taumutu Rūnanga)
Our whakataukī symbolises the school, community, wider community and our global connections as the vehicle to support learning. It underpins our vision, mission and core values.
Learning Activities:
How do you plan activities and lessons to support diverse cultural backgrounds and languages?
As a team we discuss ways that we can support diverse learners in out planning meetings. However, these conversations are more focussed on the range of academic diversity that our students have rather than their cultural diversity. I think we do need to be more explicit in our inclusion of students cultural backgrounds and languages when we are at the planning stage as a team. This will ensure we bring the cultural knowledge we have of our students to the table and include this in a more authentic way. Acknowledging our students cultural diversity will ensure they have more opportunity to engage with the learning and achieve success. As I said at the start of this post this all relies on us, as teachers, building strong, authentic relationships with our students. This in turn will enable us to create a culturally responsive curriculum that engages all students and ensures successful outcomes for all.




Bishop. R., Berryman, M., Cavanagh, T. & Teddy, L. (2009).Te Kotahitanga: Addressing educational disparities facing Māori students in New Zealand. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(5),734–742.

Gay,G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(2),106-116.

Milne, B.A. (2013). Colouring in the White Spaces: Reclaiming Cultural Identity in Whitestream Schools. (Doctoral Thesis, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand). Retrieved from

Savage,C, Hindleb, R., Meyerc,L., Hyndsa,A., Penetitob, W. & Sleeterd, C.(2011) Culturally responsive pedagogies in the classroom: indigenous student experiences across the curriculum .Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39(3), 183–198: (Available to download from Unitec Library)

Te Toi Tupu. (n.d.). Pasifika: Participation, Engagement, Achievement tool. Retrieved from

Unitec. (n.d). Learning and Teaching at Unitec Institute of Technology. Retrieved from Booklet.

Van Dyne, L., Ang, S., Ng, K. Y., Rockstuhl, T., Tan, M. L. & Koh, C. (2012). Sub-dimensions of the four factor model of cultural intelligence: expanding the conceptualisation and measurement of cultural intelligence. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6(4), 295-313.

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  1. I noticed in your Reference List Anne Milnes Colouring in the White Spaces. Last week I went along to hear her presentation to Women at Massey – this is social and community research and is an especially good example of the personal is the political. This excellent presentation was based on her own life and wider research and raises some challenging questions about a history of education as a tool of colonisation. Her personal experience both as a pakeha educator and principal and also a mother placed her in a critical position to speak both to her personal experience as witness to her own children’s experiences as young Maori doing their learning in a Pakeha system, as well as someone who in her role as an educator and leader has had to actively question that system and its practices and knowledge knowing how it impacts upon the Maori learner.

    It was an empowering discussion that I feel prompts me to think about my responsibility – as a somebody who is here – not just as an educator – to continue to build on the knowledge I have of Maturanga Maori and to deepen, broaden, expand, get up to date and also keep asking questions and challenging my own knowledge and assumptions. I often wonder how we got to assume that our (European) knowledge was all that counted. Thinking about it – it seems a strange being that thinks that all of the beings in the room are the same.

    I remember reading a while ago about the university system as one which remains steeped and deeply embedded in western patriarchal practices, methodologies and knowledge’s despite feminist and cultural studies challenges to it over a 50 year period – not sure that lots has changed – but some things have. However, I am ever hopeful – ever curious – about how radically universities and education might change (progress) as indigenous voices, knowledge’s and practices insist in their being counted as authoritative and persist in questioning euro-centrism –and drive an institutional discourse that values diversity and difference.


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